In this edition we report on progress with our prototype service for green list waste exports

Project update

Developing a prototype service for recording green list waste exports and preparing for an alpha assessment by Government Digital Services has been a key focus for the project team over the last two months.

In the last newsletter we explained that we are breaking this complex project into more manageable pieces by solving a series of problems for the user starting with ‘Where is waste going to?’. To address this first problem we have been working with members of our user panel involved in the green list waste chain to develop a prototype online service for a user who needs to inform an agency about an export of green list waste, replacing the current paper-based Annex VII form. You can read more about the prototype in the next section.

An alpha assessment of our green list waste prototype by Government Digital Services took place on 1 July. This is our opportunity to demonstrate that our prototype and the way we are working is meeting the Service Standard, allowing us to progress to the next phase of the project. We are pleased to announce that we passed the assessment, successfully meeting all of the 14 point criteria. The assessment report will be published in due course and we will let you know when it is available.

The four UK environment agencies have been working together to scope out the Agency Readiness work stream that will look at how each agency will prepare its people, processes and technology to take full advantage of the opportunities waste tracking will provide. This will be a key piece of work for the next two years and will allow governments, agency management teams and the waste tracking project board to monitor progress, identify risks and issues, and ensure the right resources and infrastructure are in place for the successful implementation of waste tracking.

We are continuing our work to assess the options for the various components of the service to inform our procurement strategy for the build phases. We are also expanding our agile team as we progress beyond the initial green list waste alpha phase and prepare to start work on the next service problem.

Prototype service for green list waste exports

We have now completed our alpha prototype for the online recording of exports of green list waste and, thanks to feedback provided by user panel members, it is looking great!

In this section we will show you what the prototype concept looks like and how it might function in the future, providing a firm foundation on which to build the full service. There will still be lots of further development, testing and iteration of the service in the next phase of work with scope for additional improvements based on user feedback.

The user journey starts with a notification that a new service is available to use and instructions on how to sign up and get started. Once a user has created an account they can log in, view their home page and choose the task they wish to complete.

By selecting the ‘Tell us about a new export’ option a user can start to submit the information required to legally export green list waste.

The service was originally designed as a linear journey through each of sections 1-12 as they appear on the paper Annex VII form until we learned that it is not always possible to complete the form at the first attempt. Users told us that some information, such as the quantity of waste, the first carrier and the date of shipment may not be available until the day of shipment so we have designed the service to allow users to complete the sections in any order they wish and for estimated values to be accepted until the actual values can be recorded prior to the waste being shipped. These are two examples of design features that were introduced as a result of feedback from usability testing with users.

The image below shows a partially completed submission, clearly indicating which sections need to be completed.

All exports created by a user can be viewed by selecting the ‘View all submitted exports’ option from the home page.

The prototype contains a helpful function which allows users to create ‘favourites’ from an existing submission which can be saved and viewed in the ‘Your saved templates’ section of the home page so they can be used the next time a similar export takes place. This is another important design feature that was introduced through user feedback.

The ‘Update exports awaiting final details’ task on the home page allows a user to update their exports where estimated information has been provided beforehand. The example below shows records that contain estimated values that need to be updated before waste can be shipped.

Once all the required information has been added to the electronic form and submitted to the regulator it can be printed in the traditional Annex VII format and signed ready to accompany the waste.

A regulator prototype has also been developed and we will explain more about this in our next newsletter.

Waste tracking consultation

This summer we intend to launch a public consultation on our proposals for the implementation of mandatory digital waste tracking. The consultation will be issued jointly on behalf of all four governments across the UK and will focus on the practical aspects of implementation including:

  • What waste activities and information will need to be recorded  

  • What current waste reporting will be replaced by the new service  

  • How users will be able to enter information onto the service 

  • Who will be required to enter information and when 

  • Alternative provisions for digitally excluded waste holders  

  • Data access controls  

  • Cost recovery  

  • Compliance and enforcement  

  • How we should go live with the service, including questions about the costs and benefits to you. 

Look out for the consultation on Defra’s consultation hub here:

Collection and Packaging Reform Services

Have your say on Collection and Packaging Reform Services

User researchers at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are asking organisations involved in the production, collection, sale and management of packaging waste across the UK for help with user research to support the collection and packaging waste reforms.

They are designing services and websites for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) across the whole of the UK, the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Consistent Collection (CC) which applies to England only.

They are looking for producers of packaging waste, local authorities and any organisations that deal with the collection, sorting, carrying, reprocessing and exporting of packaging waste including waste management companies. If you are involved in a consultancy role or are a software company that has services involved in the packaging waste arena, they also want to hear from you.

You will get the opportunity to influence the design of the services and websites.

What you would do if you sign up to the research panel

Once you’ve signed up, you might be asked to:

• try out features of the services as they are developed
• talk about your experiences with current packaging regulations
• complete an online survey or task
• answer more questions by email

How to sign up

To take part in the research, you need to complete a short questionnaire here.

If you have any questions please email the Defra team at

User panel activities

In May we issued an invitation to a wider group of businesses potentially involved in the management of green list waste to join the user panel. There are now in the region of 250 panel members who identify as being involved in the management of green list waste, including some based outside the UK, which provides a wide-ranging group of users for our research and usability testing.

Also in May we issued a survey to the whole user panel to gather information on the ways members currently use digital services, and any accessibility challenges they face that could affect their access to digital services. We received a good response to the survey and the results will be reported in a future newsletter.

Over the past two months we continued to carry out fortnightly one-to-one moderated usability testing of the prototype we are developing for recording waste exports with panel members involved in the management of green list waste. The feedback we received has been very valuable and has resulted in some major improvements as described in the prototype section above.

We will continue to carry out usability testing as the prototype moves into production, as we always aim to bring the service as close as possible to the needs of its users.

Get involved

Join our user panel
Help shape waste tracking by taking part in user research and usability testing of software by signing up here.

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Cindy Lee
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